The week between Christmas and New Year's Day isn't the best time for blogging, but it's hard to resist coming up with lists and rankings. Last year I lacked the time to make a fav list of my own articles, so all the more reason to pick up that good tradition (2008) and scroll one last time past the more interesting things that went down here. All articles are hand-picked and forced into a top 10. Killing darlings is a hobby of mine.
10. equal-height search form
Trying to get an input field and button to align horizontally in each and every browser often seems like an inhuman task. If you want to know what causes this and what can be done about it, the following article might just answer all your questions. No more search form styling headaches from now on.
09. front-end quality levels
Quality is what separates amateurs from professionals. But there is more to front-end quality than just making a good-looking website in one single browser. Explore the different levels of front-end quality and you're sure to come out a better person on the other side. I'll even vouch for that.
08. inline-block vs float
We all hate floats, so when display:inline-block became widely available people flocked towards this new holy grail. But is this really such a good idea? Did we first consider the differences and similarities between both properties, and did we think about the necessary requirements to pick the appropriate property for a particular problem?
07. extended semantics
In our quest to deliver quality we sometiles overreach. Proper semantics on the web is a perfect example to demonstrate this. Microformats and html5 microdata are interesting concepts but with not even a hint of a base to start from these concepts are simply too difficult to get off the ground on a global scale. First learn to walk before you want to fly.
06. carousel - graceful degradation
We all know and love graceful degradation, but it is often considered to be a single-road solution to accommodate older browsers. The truth is that there are usually several possibilities when taking the graceful degradation route, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Sadly this topic is grossly underdeveloped, the following article will start by laying down the complexities of proper graceful degradation.
html5 brings us many new elements and has redefined a series of existing ones. We are eager to use all of them, but sometimes our eagerness can actually hurt semantics when we try to bend the rules to match our own needs. It's usually better to use more generic elements rather than force the meaning of specific ones. So beware!
04. web design patterns (for front-end)
Web design patterns have been around for a while but they have a hard time harvesting a solid fan base. This is a real shame because they really are the way forward if you want to accomplish cross-site quality. They are the ultimate in standardization and a great way to question your own work. If you haven't started using them, there is no time to lose.
03. cms skinning
A nice reminder of the responsibilities of what a cms is supposed to do and how this conflicts with our everyday reality. It's time for popular cms' to get their act together and to keep their hands clean of our html code. This is pretty much the only way to improve the front-end/back-end developer relationship as I see it.
02. css specificity: lacking proximity
The dangers of porting real-life concepts to human-made programming languages. Find out why css specificity doesn't always act the way we expect it to and where the exact difference lies between real-life and css specificity. Sometimes a good look at the human mind can improve the way we work and we might even learn something valuable in the meantime.
01. when one word is more meaningful than a thousand
The most comprehensive argument I've written this year, no doubt. A plea for simple, standardized and semantic html, all wrapped in one dashing article. I should also thank Smashing Magazine for the opportunity to publish it on their blog and the editing guidance they gave me. Enjoy!